General Douglas McArthur was a national hero of World War II. America viewed him as an inspirational leader and among the people that admired him was Vince Lombardi. McArthur loved football, particularly the Army team from West Point. He and Army Head Coach Red Blaik were close friends. Lombardi was working as one of the top assistant coaches at West Point in the early 50’s, and Blaik would often dispatch him to see General McArthur at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The General had a suite at the Waldorf and Coach Lombardi would show him the game films of Army’s latest conquest.
Vince Lombardi is the most quoted coach in football history. But he often quoted Douglas McArthur in his speeches, particularly on McArthur’s views of competitive athletics. This was Lombardi’s favorite Douglas McArthur quote.
Competitive sports keeps alive in all of us a spirit of vitality and enterprise. It teaches the strong to know when they are weak, and the brave to face themselves when they are afraid. It teaches us to be proud and unbending in defeat, yet humble and gentle in victory. It teaches us to master ourselves before we attempt to master others. It teaches us to learn to laugh, yet never to forget how to weep. It gives a predominance of courage over timidity.